Cool off with a slice of no-bake ice cream cake! This easy summertime treat combines two of your favorite ice cream flavors, hot fudge, homemade whipped cream, and sprinkles—all on top of an Oreo cookie crust. Because this cake needs to freeze for at least 12 hours prior to serving, it’s a great make-ahead dessert option for birthday parties, BBQs, Father’s Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and more.
We’re tackling a never-before-seen recipe on my website today: ice cream cake! This easy and refreshing treat is made for summertime celebrations. With 5 layers to love, it keeps us smiling, satisfied, and cool all season long.
Why You’ll Love This Ice Cream Cake
- 5 layers of decadence
- Easy no-bake recipe
- Use your favorite ice cream flavors
- Something for everyone to enjoy
- Ribbons of fudge throughout
- Topped with cheerful sprinkles
- Like cookie ice cream sandwiches, this is a wonderful make-ahead dessert
5 Layers to Love
There are 5 layers in this ice cream beauty—let’s review each one:
- Oreo Cookie Crust: This cookie crust comes together with just 2 ingredients: Oreo cookies and melted butter. Be sure to use the entire cookie (the chocolate cookies and the cream filling) when pulsing the cookies into crumbs. Since this recipe fits a 9×13-inch pan, I slightly scaled up my regular Oreo cookie crust.
- Chocolate Ice Cream
- Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
- Hot Fudge: Use a store-bought variety or make your own! I used this homemade hot fudge sauce recipe from Brown Eyed Baker and it’s easily the best I’ve ever tasted. It yields a little more than we need for this cake, but I’m certainly not upset with leftover hot fudge.
- Whipped Cream & Sprinkles: We top with homemade whipped cream for the final layer. You’ll appreciate how quickly and easily it comes together! For a finishing touch, garnish with colorful sprinkles for the ultimate dessert.
You can use any flavors of ice cream you want. Chocolate and peanut butter is a favorite combination in my family, but you could also try: chocolate + cookies ‘n’ cream, vanilla + strawberry, chocolate + mint chip, chocolate + vanilla, or coffee + cookies ‘n’ cream. The options are endless!
Here are a few step photos of the process. It’s really not as much work as it seems, though you will take a few trips back and forth from the freezer. You’ll find a video tutorial and the full recipe at the bottom of the page.
After you make the Oreo cookie crust and tightly pack it into the pan, freeze it for 15 minutes. During this time, get your first flavor of ice cream ready (below). Spread this ice cream onto the crust and freeze it.
Get your second flavor of ice cream ready. Spread this ice cream onto the first layer of ice cream and freeze it (below).
While the 2 ice cream layers are freezing, prepare your hot fudge. You’ll let the hot fudge sauce cool down after making it, but it will never be as cold as the ice cream layer underneath it. Because of the difference in temperature, the hot fudge and the top layer of ice cream swirl together—this is to be expected. Place the cake back in the freezer for 15 minutes before spreading the whipped cream on top.
Make the whipped cream. Spread this on top of the hot fudge and add sprinkles (below). Freeze until ready to serve! As the cake freezes, the inside layers stay separate, but move around quite a bit, creating beautiful layers.
Ice Cream Cake Success Tips
- Soften the ice cream and stir it around in a bowl to smooth it out before layering. Stirring the ice cream creates a uniform texture which makes layering so much easier.
- Freeze the cake for 15–30 minutes in between adding each layer.
- Make sure you have at least an hour to prepare the cake. See #2.
- Follow the Oreo crust recipe below. More butter than written below (we use 1/2 cup today) made the frozen crust way too firm, and cutting was quite difficult.
- If using store-bought hot fudge, slightly heat it up. This makes it a little easier to spread on top of the ice cream. The hot fudge and the top layer of ice cream will sort of mesh together as you spread and that’s OK!
- At a minimum, let the cake freeze overnight (and up to a few days).
- For clean cuts, run a sharp knife under hot water before slicing. This trick works when cutting brownie ice cream sandwiches too.
Homemade Whipped Cream
Homemade whipped cream is so easy to make and the perfect topping for our ice cream cake. And it’s nice to have a homemade element to this cake, especially if you’re using store-bought ice cream and hot fudge. You only need 3 simple ingredients to whip up a batch—it’s light, refreshing, and adds a wonderful texture to today’s frozen dessert.Print
Easy 5 Layer Ice Cream Cake
- Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 12 hours
- Yield: 12 servings
- Category: Dessert
- Method: No Bake
- Cuisine: American
Simple and divine 5-layer ice cream cake sitting on top of an Oreo crust. Cool off and celebrate with this easy recipe!
- 30 regular Oreos (not Double-Stuf)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 quart chocolate ice cream, softened
- 1 quart your choice flavor ice cream, softened (I used peanut butter cup)
- 1 and 1/2 cups (420g) hot fudge (store-bought or yummy homemade)
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons (15g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Make the crust: In a food processor or blender, pulse 30 Oreos (including the cream filling) into a fine crumb. You should have about 3 cups crumbs, or 330g. Pour crumbs into a large bowl. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. The mixture will be thick and quite wet. Try to smash/break up any large chunks. Pour the mixture into an ungreased 9×13-inch pan. With medium pressure using your hand, pat the crumbs down into the bottom to make a compact, thick crust. Freeze for 15 minutes.
- During that time, place the softened chocolate ice cream in a bowl and give it a good stir to rid any frozen lumps. You want a nice smooth, soft ice cream. Spread it on top of the frozen crust. Freeze for 15–30 minutes. (Closer to 30 minutes is ideal.)
- During that time, place the 2nd ice cream flavor into a bowl and stir it until it is smooth and very soft. Carefully spread on top of the chocolate ice cream. Freeze for 15–30 minutes. (Closer to 30 minutes is ideal.)
- Make sure the hot fudge is spreadable consistency. You may have to slightly heat it if using store-bought. Spread it on top of the ice cream as best you can. Because it is not as cold as the ice cream layer, the two will slightly mix together as you spread. That’s ok. Freeze for 15–30 minutes. (Closer to 30 minutes is ideal.)
- Make the whipped cream: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 4–5 minutes. Spread on top of hot fudge layer, then top with sprinkles. Cover with aluminum foil and freeze for at least 12 hours before serving (and up to a few days).
- Use a very sharp knife to cut, making sure you are cutting into the crust. Keep leftovers in the freezer.
- Ice Cream: 1 quart of ice cream is 2/3 of a standard 1.5 quart container. So you’ll use a little more than half of the container for each ice cream layer.
Keywords: ice cream cake, easy ice cream cake
Reader Comments & Reviews
This is a very delicious cake. I made it in a 10.5 inch springform to allow me to take the cake fully out of the pan for serving. I scalled down the recipe by 25% to accomodate for the reduced pan size.
Hi Sally!!! I am currently in the process of making this delicious cake and wanted to know if you are supposed to cover the cake when you keep freezing it between layers? Thank you!
Hi Lisa, not really necessary since it’s such a short chill time between those layers. You can if you’d like to though!
Thank you so much!!! It’s all ready to go and in my freezer! I cannot wait to have it for my husband’s birthday. Your recipes have always been my favorite and I’m sure it will not disappoint!!!
Hi Sally- I’d like to make minis of this recipe. Do you think it will work if I use regular size paper bake cups and make the layers in each, just like you have for the 13″ x 9″ pan? How many would you say it should make this way? Any other suggestions to possibly modify ingredients or amounts? I want to make 20-24. Thanks so much.
Hi Elana, we haven’t tried mini versions of this ice cream cake but we can’t see why not. We’re unsure of the best amount — the recipe as is would likely make around 2 dozen individual servings, but we can’t say for certain. Let us know how it goes!
How long can I keep in the freezer. I have grandkids coming want to get organized. Would a week in the freezer be too long? Thanks!
You can make this up to a few days in advance!
Is it possible to use a different cookie than Oreos for the crust? I’m trying this recipe for an upcoming bday!
Hi Barbara! You could sub in graham crackers for a graham cracker crust.
I made this for my daughter’s 2nd birthday and everyone loved it! I used a store bought fudge and it was great. I didn’t have any issue with the Oreo crust being too hard to cut through, it softened perfectly for me after I left it out to thaw for about 30 minutes (I did use baking spray on the bottom of my dish).
I will make a few adjustments next time- going to double the whip cream layer because my family loves it, will also use the whole 1.5 quart cartons of both ice creams to avoid having the little bit leftover.
Yesterday I brought this to a barbecue and everyone loved it! It really was scrumptious! I made the homemade hot fudge the day before and put the ice cream layers together the morning of. I froze each layer for 30 minutes and then when it was together froze it for 6 hours. I was worried it would be too soft, since I didn’t freeze it for 12 hours, but it was perfect.
For ice-cream I used chocolate with peanut butter swirls and peanut butter cup. Yummy!
Can’t wait to try this! We love ice cream cake in my house, but hate he chemically/store bought taste so homemade is the perfect solution! How long can this cake be kept in the freezer? Also, if I were to half this recipe, what pan size would you suggest? Thank you!
Hi Jessica! This ice cream cake can be stored in the freezer for a week or two. You can halve the recipe for an 8×8 inch pan, or even a 9 inch round pan if needed. Let us know if you give it a try!
Should the recipe be modified at all in order to fit into a 9″ round springform pan? Put clear wrap or parchment on the bottom? How long should the ice cream be softened before spreading into a layer? How long should the homemade hot fudge recipe be cooled before being used? An ice cream cake seems so daunting!
Hi Katie, we haven’t tested this recipe in a springform pan, so I’m afraid we can’t tell you if it would need to be modified for the size. The ice cream should be softened enough to the point where you can spread it–we can’t give an exact time because everyone’s kitchen (and freezer) aren’t the exact same temperatures, so the ice cream will soften at different rates. Cool the hot fudge to the point where it’s not going to melt the ice cream, but that it’s still spreadable. Hope this helps!
Can this be made fully and frozen about 5 days ahead of time??
Hi Lauren, that should work just fine!
what size pan?
Hi Julie, You can use a 9 x 13 pan for this. Enjoy!
I just made this ice cream cake with chocolate peanut butter ice cream & vanilla ice cream. My friends & family loved it! I was wondering if you have any more ideas for ice cakes. ❤️
What if I don’t have 12 hours to freeze?? Am I doomed for a failure? I’d have about 4-5 hours instead.
It may be a bit soupy/melty if it doesn’t have time to fully chill and set!
I made this months ago and it was a huge hit!! I am going to make it over the Christmas holiday using peppermint ice cream and chocolate fudge ice cream. This cake is delicious!
Do you think this could work in a silicone cake mold and then pop out to be decorated?
Hi Hannah, we haven’t tested ice cream cake in a silicone mold, but please let us know how it goes if you give it a try – that sounds like a fun way to serve ice cream cake!
Thanks for breaking this down and making it simple. Ice cream cake recipes usually intimidate me. My son loves it so I think I’ll make this recipe for his birthday next month.
This recipe looks fantastic. I have a question regarding softening the ice cream. Do you soften it in the microwave, or room temperature?
At room temperature!
Can i leave out the fudge without changing anything
Have been making this recipe for years and my boys always request it for their birthday “cake”. It is my GO TO summer treat and it’s so easy to switch it up, making a salted caramel version now with pretzel crust! I love having this recipe in my back pocket!
I give this recipe a 4/5 as I followed exactly and the crust was quite difficult to cut through, otherwise absolutely delicious! This is perfect as I love ice cream cake but I am quite far from a store to buy one or have one made.
Patrice..I would LOVE for you to list your flavour combinations you have used! Awaiting impatiently for your response
This was a HUGE hit at a BBQ I went to this weekend. The store ran out of hot fudge (huh?) so I improvised and put a layer of kit kats in the middle for a chocolatey crunch! I used snickers ice cream and cookies and cream ice cream. I used a little less butter and the crust cut perfectly. Looking forward to making all different versions of this (thinking something with pretzels (I love salt and crunch with creamy sugary ice cream!) thank you for this recipe:)
Great recipe! I used the 1/2 cup butter for my Oreo crust, and it was too firm. Would the crust come out softer if I decrease the butter to 4-6 tablespoons? I’ll definitely make this again…thank you Sally for another tasty treat.
Hi Marisa, reducing the butter will help because the butter is what solidifies the crust. Having less means the crust won’t be as hard. See if reducing down to 6 Tablespoons helps. Glad you enjoyed this recipe!
Can I sub cool whip for the whipping cream?
Followed your recipe but still ended up with the cookie crust too hard to cut through. But otherwise, this recipe is easy to do and my birthday girl loved it.
I made this cake in a spring form round pan. Topped it with Oreo halves and peanut butter cups halves for an extra special touch! Really turned out beautifully! Excellent recipe! Will use again.
Oh I’m glad to read this! I was wondering how it would work in a spring form pan. I plan on making it this way- thanks for posting!! 🙂
I’ve done springform before but the cracks once opened the melting starts. Try it you have to consume it or it seeps through the cracks
This is such an easy to follow and delicious ice cream cake recipe! Made it for my son’s birthday and making it for my mother in law who requested it and loved it from that previous birthday!
I’m so excited to share this with my family today. I used a springform pan for ease of removal.
I made this recipe with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, and added a layer of crushed oreos coated in magic shell to mimic carvel crunchies, and it was absolutely perfect! Love this recipe! Thanks Sally!
I used half a gallon of ice cream for each layer and forgot the to put the whipped cream on the cake before I served it. I had plenty of time, so I doubled the freezing time between layers and let the cake freeze overnight. The cake was a hit and tasted better than the ice cream cake we usually buy at the store. I will definitely make this again!
Great results, both taste-wise and visually! I liked that you can take a break and do other things while the layers are spending time in the freezer. You can start this a few days ahead, because the more frozen the previous layer is before you proceed, the more perfect the layers look at the end when you cut it. I did spray the bottom of the pan lightly with cooking spray. When pressing the cookie crumb/butter mixture into the pan, don’t press so firmly that it will be difficult to get out. Press so that the bottom is thoroughly covered and freeze it well! After adding the ice cream layers, I actually waited a day to add the homemade hot fudge layer, so the seepage into the ice cream was minimal. I think the real key to making this is complete freezing between additions. This beats the store bought ice cream cakes because you can control the quality of the ice cream and the homemade fudge sauce and real whipped cream are far superior to the ingredients of the store-bought versions. Thanks, Sally ! The whole family loved it!
I’d like to make this with an added layer of brownies. Where would I do that and what adjustments would I need to make everywhere? I could keep just 1 layer of ice cream if that’s too many layers…
Hi Kristen, that would require a bit of testing. Though I haven’t tried this, I would use my seriously fudgy homemade brownies recipe. Bake & cool them, add a layer of softened ice cream on top. Freeze for about 30 minutes, then add your hot fudge/whipped cream and freeze again until completely frozen. You may also enjoy these homemade brownie ice cream sandwiches.
It got way too dense/rich with the changes, I will stick with the original recipe next time! The brownie didn’t work out with the ice cream because it got too hard in the freezer. A light cake could have worked 🙂 giving 5 stars for your original recipe!